Sunday, September 25, 2016

"We are the SUFFERS, and, we're from HOUSTON!

Kam Franklin, the lead vocalist, told us to listen carefully.

And, she said, we were to shout back the answers.

Who are we?
The Suffers, we answered, er, shouted out loudly.

Where are we from?

We yelled out the city name we had been told: Houston!

Then all 7 members of the Suffers started playing their 3rd Coast Soul Music and the crowd started some serious dancing.

I have seen dancers before at the Pour House, but this crowd of people was REALLY into this sound, a mixture of Cajun, African-American, Mexican and white,

They twisted and gyrated, bounced, and raised their arms, moving to the rhythm.

Kam really liked this response. She liked it a lot!

She was so filled with energy, it was contagious. She worked all over the stage..side to side, front and back.

The trombone playing by Michael Razo had our feet thumping to the pounding beat.

Patrick Kelly dazzled us on the keys.

Kam leaned into the crowd and the response was electric.

This was their first time playing in Charleston.

Hands raised when she asked who had heard them before.  The name of a club in Houston was shouted back.

And the music played on and on.

Added lights created a great light show to add to the visual appeal and excitement.

This group, formed in 2011, has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman.

And on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

As well as on The Daily Show, with Trevor Noah

So, no strangers to the appreciation of the blended mixture of cultures and music from their port city in Texas.

Their first time here in THIS port city was a real treat for us.

I hope they will come back again and again.

Kam sang a tender love song about offering food to someone and the response they were expected to give.

The song involved her making a sandwich.

My buddy nudged me and agreed, he would want a Kam sandwich!

(Click on the photos and link for more details.)

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Friday, September 23, 2016

What exactly is a "Squirrel Nut Zipper?"

 SNZ was created 20 years ago by leader Jimbo Mathus.

I can't find anything online that explains the name. 
But,  Google knows everything, so I did find at least a description of the hot retro movement sound the band makes. Whew.

Like the big bands from the 40s, there is a Lady Singer.

She brought a Betty Boop sound and style.

Ingrid Lucia really belts it out.

She sings and struts her stuff in a most pleasing manner, with some classy costume changes.

The mostly- standing, dancing, clapping crowd at the Music Hall demonstrated she was a major part of several "Show-Stoppers."

Off to the left, the fiddle man Dr. Sick, bounced, jumped, danced and did splits as he played.

Then he really caught my attention as he sat still and played on a hand saw. Yep.

My dad was a carpenter and he had many, many saws.

He had shown me how to create undulating sounds as you hit on the twisted blade. 

Pretty notes sliding up and down the scale.

The Doctor used his fiddle bow, instead of a screwdriver,  to make oddly pleasing sounds.

The first time I had seen Jimbo and his "zippers" was at the Music Farm.

This hot and lively musical seance energized the crowd and I twirled among the dancing dervish fast-paced action.

Same thing happened at the Music Hall as the crowd surrendered to the compelling beat and worked itself into a frenzy.

The building still stands after the attack of the  hot swing killer Squirrels.

I'm sure it was rocked to its foundations.

Many of the crowd stood in line after the show to snap up 20th-anniversary vinyl records.  I knew I already had the album at home.

The opening act was a real crowd-pleaser too. 

The V-Tones 6-person band took the stage with Noodle McDoodle on amped uke and his wife Eden on snare and cymbal.

Their fiddle guy was phenomenal! Catch this Charleston uke hot jug band that plays all around town.

OK, looking at my calendar and see more bands coming up next week. I'll take a breath and try to add postings to my blog.

Thanks for stopping by. Click on the photos and links for more detail and sounds.

* Never say never. Did find a link to the band's name origin.







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I was 21 ....an older college freshman

 The University of San Diego was founded in 1949 and, 11 years later,  I found it in 1960.

Had just finished my 3.5 years as a U.S.Marine combat photographer and was still getting used to wearing civvies.

I gratefully had accepted a scholarship at the young University as the school's first "official" photographer. The 1961 yearbook was the first for the school.

One of the first people I photographed was Senator John F. Kennedy, who had come to San Diego in 1960, campaigning to become President of the United States of America.

 Just a few weeks before, I had packed up all my darkroom gear, movie camera, and Rolleiflex, left Charleston, South Carolina and headed West.

A few fellow freshmen joined me when I suggested, "let's go see the next U.S.President." 

Of course, I had my camera with me as we pushed through the crowd downtown to get closer to the platform set up on Broadway.

I recall that 56 years ago, I looked up at a policeman on the platform, told him I was the official photographer at the University, and asked if he could give me a hand getting up on the stage. The officer did.

Today is the 53rd anniversary of the assassination of the President and I have used my photo of the young man often in this blog.

Three years later, I was assigned to take his picture - as President Kennedy - when he accepted an honorary degree from San Diego State University and gave the Commencement address.

Then I was a staff photographer for the  San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper and really had actual credentials to be there with my camera.

He made his fateful trip to Dallas five months later.

I went back to USD on the 45th anniversary of my graduation.

One of the fellows who had gone downtown with me to "see the Presidental candidate" was at the reunion and we talked about that afternoon.

That was a joyful day in 1960 and one to remember.

Thanks for reading this and sharing my memory of seeing the President - twice.




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Thursday, September 08, 2016

Putting my best face forward...

Even though I have had some luck at being picked as an extra, I am reminded that snapshots are not as effective as professional headshots.

I was asked to be a husband to a delightful actress as a Background couple (BG) in a Shem Creek restaurant scene for a show called WE LOVE YOU, hopefully, to be seen on the YouTube Red subscription network.

Casting people and the film's Director may have a clear image of the character they want...or just a vague feeling. A pro headshot comes in handy in helping them make a decision.

Local production of tv shows has been fairly active and I am pleased that I was chosen as a non-speaking extra to appear on the small screen in season two of VICE PRINCIPALS and the second season of THE INSPECTORS.

Even after the scene has been shot - and after I've signed all the paperwork to be paid - there is no guarantee that it will actually get on the air.

I decided I like doing this and wanted to "up my game" with some professional headshots.

Fortunately, I know Joseph Nienstedt, a multi-talented photographer, who was all set to capture me in several headshots.

Made an appointment and Joe spent well over an hour to get a smiling shot and a more serious one. This way, I could be considered as a happy-go-lucky nice guy with a ready laugh.

Or, as a stuffy judge, politician, or even a sympathetic funeral director.

Maybe a seen-it-all detective or simply a lovable grandfather in a family setting.

Hey, I like all of those options!

I'm still basking in my nice long scene with actress Sheila Cochran where the two of us reacted to a scruffy, battered, bleeding guy
who shuffles toward us. Sheila is a great "hospital screamer!"

This is in the Adam Sandler film THE DO-OVER, that started streaming since Memorial Day on Netflix.

Ok, I have my new headshots and will send them when applying for roles in a tv show or movies filming nearby. It's a good, fun thing to do when you're retired.

And, best of all when you're picked and you nail it.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

About the only time I write in cursive is my signature. Maybe I'll get to do autographs some day.


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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Some people purr-fer Cats.....

 It's been well documented that petting an animal - and being licked - is therapeutic.
          In a hospital or nursing home setting, it is demonstrated often when caring individuals bring their dogs in for a round of visits and patients respond favorably.
          My mom, in her 90s, was in a nursing home and benefited often from such dog-owner kindness.
          I would see several dogs going from room to room on certain days of the week and knew people were being calmed and that was a beautiful thing.
          But, my family has long been partial to cats.
          So, one day, I dusted off the cat carrier and brought my mother her 10-pound orange cat named Wallaby for a visit.
          Mom was sleeping when I arrived after lunch, and Wallaby had been noisily letting me know he was tired of being cooped up in the carrier and surrounded by the strange setting.
       
   An outside cat, he was used to being where he wanted to be and had trained me to understand what my role was when he stood on either side of the door,
          Yeah, he was not a happy cat. Until he realized Mom was next to him.
          He stopped making noise and started purring. Mom awoke and smiled, petting her cat.
          Wallaby had allowed me to attach a short leash to his collar and he now shared the pillow, rubbing his moist nose on Mom's hand and cheek.
          I had received permission from the staff for my stealthy cat visit, and several of Mom's caregivers stopped by to see how the visit was going. They sat her up in a wheelchair and Wallaby sat quietly in Mom's lap as she petted and rubbed him.
          There were smiles - and a few tears - as the orange-striped cat and my Mom had a short but emotional visit together.
          On the drive home, Wallaby was quiet and we both were purring a bit.

At first, Wallaby needed the leash





Together again -- after two years

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Charleston's Artesian water...

Had not really thought about Charleston's artesian water and it's funky taste for a long time.

It all came back to me yesterday when I leaned in to sip some bubbling up in a fountain on Calhoun Street at Rutledge.

Wow, just as I recalled, growing up in Ansonborough in the 1950s.

We lived on Society, the next street over from the fire station at Meeting and Wentworth.

I know that station's fountain is dry and no longer has people showing up with gallon jugs to cart that distinctive-smelling well-water home.

My grandmother lived with us and all three boys would be told to go and retrieve  some of that water for her.
Yesterday I had dropped my brother off at MUSC for an out-patient procedure and had some time to kill.

I was only a few blocks from the renovated Colonial Lake so I wandered down Rutledge - past Cannon Park's 4 columns -  to see how the lake looked now,
Pretty neat! Wide sidewalks for dog-walking and exercise.

Charleston iron benches in the dappled shade, set among long, low walls that invite you to pause, sit and reflect.

Oh, and all the plants that people were talking about.

I even spotted a shiny new water fountain that I am sure was never there before.

Wonder if it provides artesian water? Didn't think to taste it.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

Thanks for walking along Rutledge Avenue with me. Stop and refresh yourself at the Calhoun Street fountain!




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Saturday, August 13, 2016

"Messy New Orleans Jazz..."

 Went to the Sparrow in Park Circle a few night ago to see a "messy" band.

Stu Dias, the leader of Soggy Po'Boys, plays guitar with a passion and a voice to match.

Described as an Octet, I counted only 7 onstage, but I don't know how any movement, rhythm, or sound could possibly be missing.

Well, maybe a roving harp player and I don't mean a tiny harmonica.

A solid New Orleans jazz band that was formed in 2012.

The 'horn section" was especially active, ably backed by keys, drums, and an energetic upright bass.

The crowd was pleased there was no cover (really?) so when the tip jar was passed around, it was heavy with appreciation.

I salute the Sparrow for its delightful array of music and events.

It, the Mill and Madra Rua are basically in my neighborhood.

This makes a welcome change from heading downtown or to West Ashley and the Pour House.

The leader Stu told me they had just played a set at the Wednesday night series up at Awendaw Green.

They still had LOTS of energy and gave us quite a show.

A few days ago they played in Washington, DC, and worked their way down through Asheville to bring their messy Soggy Po'Boys show to the Lowcountry.

Kep an eye on the Sparrow when you're planning a night out. Lots of good surprises there. And - no smoking.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

Yes, I will get back to my vacation photos but there's a lot going on!

We'll always have Paris.








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Monday, August 08, 2016

Hail..hail, the gang's all here!

 Almost a dozen members of my Photo Group got together Sunday morning in Summerville.

Rudy Lutge, a co-coordinator of the 21st Century Photography Group, offered a step-by-step tutorial on how - and why - to use Neutral Density (ND) filters.
"Think of these dark filters as sunglasses for your camera," he told us.

On a bright, sunny day, if you try to use a slower shutter speed, the image will be overexposed, Rudy added.

If you want to take a slow exposure shot of flowing water, an ND filter lets you use a longer shutter opening and change the look of a fountain (or waterfall) to a dreamy fog or blurred motion for a special effect.

Rudy often is out at Folly Beach in the wee hours before dawn, taking pictures of waves flowing  gently like mist, wrapping around rocks close to the shore. Oh, and he also shoots the sunrise!

Member David Gentry uses a tripod and shutter release cable to take his long exposure (1-3 seconds) photo.

By not touching the camera itself, the images are sharp because there is no camera shake.

Portraits with an out-of-focus background are another bonus of using the dark filters. Opening the lens wider causes a shallow depth of field and the face will stand out more.

The members brought an array of equipment and varying levels of expertise.

My little Canon sx280HS Point & Shoot camera can accept these filters and I can set a slow exposure for as long as 15 seconds. Not bad for a camera that fits in my shirt pocket.

Members John Cullati (L) and Charles Giet, discuss camera settings as we turn our attention to the water fountain.

It's behind city hall, where the Farmers Market is held on Saturdays, and I learned it's the site where a Summerville fire station used to stand. There is a monument there that honor first-responders.

Charles is a long-time resident and my go-to guy with any questions I have about his birthplace.

Here's one of my shots that alters the look of the flowing water.

Miniature waterfalls without having to drive a long distance. (Click on the photos and links for more details.)

If you're interested in photography, join our group. It's free and then come along on some of our photo walks or events.

Oh, what about my vacation photo of Paris and Edinburgh? I have plenty more and will share them in future postings on my blog.

Thanks for stopping by. Stay cool for a just a while longer.


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Friday, August 05, 2016

More than a timely tune-up.....

 A few years ago, I was very pleased when David Guerry came to my house to get my lawn mower running again. He makes house calls!

While he was here with all his tools, he also made sure my "storm" emergency generator started on the first pull.

Both were in need of his trained attention and he delivered.

I had promised I would take better care of both in the future, as I wrote him a check.

My promise worked for a while but then, during the second hurricane season, I got lazy and complacent and stopped cranking the generator once a month.

Hey, I didn't have to use it for power outages so it just sat there in the shed.

About a year later, I DID try to start it, pulling the starter cord over, and over, and over.

All I got was out of breath, a sore arm, and a racing heart.

But no storms that year, so it was not needed.

But the last two times I mowed my grass - with the nicely running riding machine - I saw I was leaving long, thin lines of tall grass. I had to go over the same area a few times to cut it all.

"Hello David, can you come by to check my machines?" He could. And he did.

The generator needed only a good cleaning of the carburetor (it was solidly gummed up) and a lengthy, good scrubbing by me to remove dried on oil, grime, and dirt.

The mower, however, was another story. When Dave stood it on end, it was obvious that both blades had several inches broken off! Darn rocks!

Cut to the chase...all is well again. Generator starts on the first pull and the mower cuts a FULL 38" swath now. Whew.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

Thanks for stopping by and sitting in the shade with me as David worked his mechanical magic.

He even loaned me some of his bug spray. Whatta guy!


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Saturday, July 30, 2016

A flashing highlight of my military career...

Hey, a Combat Photographer in the Marines in the 1950s had to make his mark somewhere! In the "old Corps."

(Fortunately) it was a peaceful period, nobody shooting at anybody and I was assigned to the Base Photo Lab at Camp LeJeune, N.C., a member of Headquarters Batt., Support Company B, of the Second Marine Division.


Most of my work centered on parades at LeJeune, Changes of Command, official portraits and tons of "Grip & Grin" setups. 

Somewhere in my files is a shot of ME shaking hands and smiling as an officer congratulated me on - I suppose - gaining my Corporal E-4 stripes.

My favorite experience was during one of those General-shakes-hands-with-a-deserving-Marine standard photos, in the General's office. 

His aide stood to one side holding an extension flash, connected to me with a long black cord,  as I focused and snapped the shutter on my Speed Graphic 4x5 camera.

As sometimes happens with a #5 flashbulb if its protective coating has a scratch, when it flashed, it exploded with a LOUD bang! While very little glass is projected, it IS a startling sudden event.

The young man being honored flinched, as I recall, but the battle-tested Marine General had immediately dropped to his knees, defensive combat ready, and looked up at me in surprise.

His aide quickly assisted his boss back up as I shouted: "Oh shit, did I hit you General?"

​He sternly looked at me as he brushed his pants and said "No, Corporal, I am fine. Carry on." 

We reshot the photo, no bulbs exploded.

I quickly packed my gear and retreated...holding back a smile.

In combat, a photographer would seldom use a flash. 

They can be dangerous.​

Later, in the still peacful era, my duties were mainly Public Relations with the Corps. 

I got so bored, I volunteered to accompany a Tank Battalion to cover its 4-months of rugged training on a small island called Vieques, off the east coast of Puerto Rico.


The entire island was later sold by the Navy and today is a palm-shrouded, tourism mecca.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

Thanks for wandering through my Marine military memories. 

Looking back, it had its moments and was a fun time.

Semper Fi.





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